Whistling Ducks Farm Belize
Experiences and fun stories from a farm in Western Belize in Central America, by two gringas!
Friday, September 16, 2005
Betel Palm Tree Info
Now, this is one really interesting palm tree! I had been looking for it on the Internet, always searching for something like "dwarf palm", because that's what it looks like. So I was really surprised to find out its real name.
THE BETEL PALM: Areca catechu Etymology - Its generic name derives from the Tamil word areec, native common name of these plants, then changed into Portuguese areca. Its specific name refers to the native for a strongly astringent drug, extracted from the wood of Acacia catechu (fam. Leguminosae), often added to this palm seeds when preparing chewing betel.We collected about 30 seeds, soaked them and will plant them later today. I think it would make a beautiful driveway decoration! They look elegant like Royal Palms, but are a lot smaller.
At least here they are, I believe there are larger sorts in the world.
I will keep you up to date on the planting and growing process! We also planted a bunch of herbs today, such as chives, parsley, dill and others. Let's see what comes out of those. It is always such a nice surprise!
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Birthday - Party After All
Can't get out of it - people kept dropping in and partied with me. Just a great time all in all. Still, the big party is coming up. I haven't had my barbecue yet!! The "palm" with the red nuts is actually a BETEL palm tree. And there is some really interesting stuff about it on the Internet. Will write more about it later. I plan to decorate the whole driveway with it!
Monday, September 12, 2005
Birthday - No party yet, but still a great day!
Another Sunday, like the day I was born 45 days ago! Had a great online chat with Mum today and she reminded me of a couple of things I had forgotten, such as having the measles on my first birthday, being sick in Italy on my fourth, watching Mary Poppins in Australia on my fifth, having my first school day on my 6th, etc. Of course, I don't remember any of those days really, although the first school day with the "lucky bag" ("Wundertüte") seems to pop up in my mind.
I feel so much more younger than my age and have been chatting with a couple of people, such as Hanna, Eva und Tobbi, and Heidi (who called from Germany) about how we perceive age. And wondering what people who are twenty now think about us. Not that we really care :-) Traude was the first to call shortly after 6 in the morning, later Hübi and Max and Elly, which was a really nice surprise. I look forward to all of them coming back - it will be great!
I plan to have a party some time in October, when Karli, Joe, Marion and Carol are all back from Germany and the US. Today I just relaxed and hung out at home. We had a nice shrimp dish for lunch (Robbie cooked! Wonderful!), then we watched Mary Poppins from a video tape (in remembrance of my unremembered fifth birthday), I read and played a bit and just enjoyed myself with Robbie and some of the visitors, who dropped by. And I made a cheese cake with cherries. Not completely home-made, and my real home-made lime cheese cake is a lot better! I will make it for Amelia and her birthday party next Sunday! YAY - it's virgo time!
The picture I am adding to the blog is from one of my favorite trees, a small palm. If I manage to save enough of these red nuts from the birds, I will be able to grow some myself! I would like to plant them along the driveway to make it look nicer.
ZENA - The "Queen of the West" is from Santa Familia
One of our football girls was crowned Queen of the West a little while ago! We are very happy with her! I am publishing some pictures from the follow-up event, where she competed for "Queen of the Bay" in Belize City. Zena didn't win this one, but of course we thought she should have :-) She was beautiful, witty, outspoken and just gorgeous! If you look at the blog pictures further down, you can see her joining our Punta Party!
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Dragon Ladies finish 3rd in National Competition
Our football girls - The Santa Familia Dragon Ladies - are GOOD! They made 3rd place in the National Competition! They were really happy and proud of their pretty trophy! Before the new season starts, there will be a couple of friendly games with teams from other villages in the area, and there is practice every week, so they don't get out of shape.
Flowers and Signs
Our creative phase seems to rub off ("abfärben") on David, our farm hand. He helped me cut wood to make small signs, which we hammered onto a tree. They are directional signs, which show the mileage AND the kilometers to several places in the world, such as Fairbanks in Alaska, Brisbane in Australia, Munich in Germany, San Ignacio and Spanish Lookout just around the corner - and to the moon. Then he spraypainted masses of coconuts that were laying around and used them to make a border for the flower beds. Most of the flower beds. I think it looks great. Funny and cheerful!
We have been really creative lately, Robbie made molds ("Gussformen") from clay, which is the most work, it has to be very exact and smooth. Those clay molds are then treated with several layers of liquid rubber ("flüssiger Gummi"). You just apply the rubber with a brush, and it takes quite a while, because you have to let each layer dry completely. A big parrot needs up to 40 layers, the smaller molds are ok with 10 to 15. The rubber molds are then carefully taken off the clay mold, filled with a cement/sand mix or with plaster of paris ("Gips") and after this filling is dry, you can carefully take it out and finally paint it. We painted several parrots and other animals, such as little turtles, toucans, frogs, and had a lot of fun. This is really a great way to relax after some stressful translation work. And it's good for the soul, too. I will try to sell the painted artwork, maybe at the market, or at gift shops.
Hanna came by today and had some great ideas, for example to make some small stuff as well, for the tourists, who want to take some original art work home. The big parrots are probably more interesting for the locals, who want to improve their landscaping. After the parrots are painted with acrylic paing, they get a coat of clear lacquer and could stay out in the rain and sunshine.
A Real Whistling Duck at the Whistling Ducks Farm
Besides all these other farm birds, such as chicken, geese, ducks, guineas and turkeys, we finally got our first real WHISTLING DUCK. A couple of kids sold it to us for 5 Belize Dollars, they were screaming "Miss Roooooobbbbie" at the front gate, so Robbie checked out what they wanted. And they had this little duck in their arms (which they most probably had shot out of a tree with a slingshot...), so Robbie rushed back into the house to get the money. The little duck was unhurt, but a little dizzy, and Robbie took it into the duck area with the other baby ducks, where it felt ok after a while. Actually, after the geese stopped chasing it and after the grown-up ducks stopped screaming at it. Now its just walking around there, looking pretty and different. And I can't help thinking about the "ugly duckling" story ...